Can burned toast and blackened potatoes lead to cancer? It’s a story making headlines today because of an initiative a UK government agency has taken to highlight a substance found in these products that are a “possible concern” for increased cancer risk.
The compound is called acrylamide and it’s generally formed when you cook up some starchy foods at high temperatures, over 120 degrees. The sugars and amino acids in the foods cause a reaction, the Maillard reaction, which leads to acrylamide.
US News and World Report published its latest rankings of diets on the best ones for health, including for weight loss, diabetes and heart health. But with an estimated 1.6 million new cancer cases in 2016, the rankings missed an important category: cancer prevention.
AICR – along with that of other major health organizations – now clearly recognize that diet plays an important role in reducing risk for many common cancers.
We do know enough now to make eating choices that lower our risk of cancer. In fact, we know that for people with typical American diets, waiting for more information before making any changes is increasing their risk of cancer.
It’s true that research on diet to lower cancer risk is a hot area with many questions still to be answered. That’s why it’s important when making changes to make your decisions on guidelines based on the overall body of research. Trying to act on each new study that makes headlines can make you feel like you’ve got whiplash… not a wise approach.